HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Muppet Treasure Island
Author: Jennifer Dussling
Publisher: Grosset and Dunlap, reissued in 1996
Language level: 1 (nothing objectionable)
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Rating: 3 stars (FAIR)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Dussling, Jennifer. Muppet Treasure Island (published in 1995 by Penguin Group USA Inc.). The Muppets are a group of puppet characters created by Jim Henson. Individually, a Muppet is one of the puppets made by Jim Henson or his company’s workshop. Although the term is often used to refer to any puppet that resembles the distinctive style of The Muppet Show, the term is a legal trademark linked to the characters created by Henson. The word “Muppet” itself was said by Henson to have been created by combining the words “Marionette” and “puppet.” However, Henson was also known to have stated that it was just something he liked the sound of, and he made up the “marionette/puppet” story while talking to a journalist because it sounded plausible. The Walt Disney Company bought the Muppets in 2004, except the characters appearing on Sesame Street which are owned by Sesame Street, and the Fraggles of Fraggle Rock which are still owned by The Jim Henson Company.
The Muppets made their first film, The Muppet Movie, in 1979. Two of their subsequent movies were The Muppet Christmas Carol in 1992 and Muppet Treasure Island in 1996. A book by Jennifer Dunling was based on Muppet Treasure Island, which was, in turn, based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s book Treasure Island. Actually, the movie was not all that bad and might leave children wanting to read “the real thing.” This easy-to-read novelization of the movie follows all the fun, excitement, and off-the-wall humor as Jim Hawkins and his Muppet companions–Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, and the others–set out in search of a long-lost pirate treasure, illustrated with full-color movie stills. A similar book which we had was The Muppet Christmas Carol by Louise Gikow, based on the Muppet movie which was, obviously, taken from the book The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. The Muppets did a third “literary” movie, The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz (2005), but the consensus was reached that it failed to deliver critically.